November 15, 2007

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

FOR SALE Ė Remington 30.06. Rarely shot. Make me an offer.

You would think the newspaper guy would know this is the sports page, not the classifieds. Besides, this is an odd time to be selling your deer rifle, considering thereís a week left in the season, and I still have tags to fill.

Unfortunately I feel I must part with the only deer rifle I have ever owned. Itís not that I am giving up the sport, although some of the dangerous stuff we hear about during firearms season has made me considering switching strictly to bow hunting. Itís just that I have this growing tab at the taxidermist shop, and I donít seem to get much use out of my rifle, so I might as well cash it in so I can pay for the latest interior decorating addition for our home.

For the one or two folks in Scotland County that havenít already heard the tale and been in to tease me about it, my wife harvested a 170-class (non-typical pre-deduction if you know all the scoring mumbo jumbo) monster buck on Sunday morning. This is the third year in a row that she has killed a trophy buck.

So now as I sit at the dinning room table for supper, Iíll have three constant reminders that my wife is a better hunter than I am. I think I will suggest that we take down my lone trophy, a 140-deer, my first and only buck, and use that spot for her latest success. He looks so small compared to her trio.

If I sound a little bitter, it may because all three of these deer have been taken from my favorite spot, the one I so graciously gave up three years ago to let my wife have a chance at a big one. Three years later sheís down the street at the taxidermistís swapping hunting stories with all of her fellow successful hunters while Iím on the phone with my therapist who is recommending I contact an attorney to review the hunting rights for said stand.

To make matters even worse, it appears that I have passed on my hunting jinx to my daughter. Eight-year-old Abigayle spent Saturday hunting with mom, obviously a wise choice. Most men might be offended by that, but Iím a realist and I applaud her sound judgment. But on Sunday morning she announced she would be hunting with her dad.

So as we sat in that ground blind struggling to stay awake just in case a deer actually would ever walk by us, I knew her fate immediately when I heard that shot. Mom had just scored again, and my daughter and I were going to be forced to put on a happy face and applaud her efforts even though deep down we couldnít believe how blessed she is when it comes to deer hunting.

At least I know that I am cursed far worse than she, which makes sense as she should have at least half her momís luck. She went back to the #1 hunting partner Sunday evening and the girls saw several deer together while old pop was stuck on the other side of the canal passing the time counting all of the successful shots heard around him while nary a deer appeared.

Thatís not my only solace. While I am grateful my daughter isnít totally doomed to repeat my hunting career, I can also take some consolation in knowing that I offer inspiration to others.

I was out in front of the newspaper taking a photo of a huge buck taken by Shane Wilson, when a couple motorists stopped to view the trophy. I tried to act busy with my picture taking as they each asked my wife about her deer and finally forced the story out of her.

Thatís when one of the guys looked at me and said thank you. I was puzzled until he offered the following explanation. ďI can be in the middle of a terrible day, with everything going wrong. Then all I have to do is say Iím NOT Chris Feeney, and I realize at least my luck isnít that bad.Ē

So now I canít sell my gun. Knowing I am such an inspiration means I must persevere. I have to keep insisting that someone else sit in my favorite deer stand. Iím obligated to tell people of the huge deer I saw just before dark but couldnít get a shot, or better yet the one that I missed with an arrow when my bowstring got tangled in my face net. If these tales arenít enough, you should join my fantasy football league where I went from first to last in record time. Or better yet come out to the golf course on Thursday nights and watch my chips disappear as quick as I can get them in the pot as my lack of luck is common knowledge in the poker league.

Oh well, at least Iím lucky in love.

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